PVinsights: Order Cancellations Speeded Up China Polysilicon Price Drops

Polysilicon prices dropped this week driven by disappointed sentiment as downstream demand cuts loosen the polysilicon market. Polysilicon prices in China dropped notably as buyers could no longer withstand high polysilicon prices given limited affordability under severe downstream price pressure. High-purity polysilicon for the use of mono-crystalline only dropped limitedly since the major mono-crystalline wafer makers did not seem to curtail production as substantial as multi-crystalline wafer makers. Nevertheless, polysilicon buyers have strengthened their stance on slashing prices or threatened to cut procurement volumes with the plummet in the downstream components, leading polysilicon prices to retreat from highs. On overseas market, polysilicon continued to extend the drop over the week. With a clear downstream weakness, the overseas polysilicon buyers took conservative approach in terms of the procurement. In fact, with collapse on polysilicon prices in China, some traders have been dumping inventories in the spot market to selloff the stock. With increasing pressure from downstream slide, a slump of polysilicon prices in overseas were also witnessed this week.

Polysilicon prices dropped this week driven by disappointed sentiment as downstream demand cuts loosen the polysilicon market. Polysilicon prices in China dropped notably as buyers could no longer withstand high polysilicon prices given limited affordability under severe downstream price pressure. High-purity polysilicon for the use of mono-crystalline only dropped limitedly since the major mono-crystalline wafer makers did not seem to curtail production as substantial as multi-crystalline wafer makers. Nevertheless, polysilicon buyers have strengthened their stance on slashing prices or threatened to cut procurement volumes with the plummet in the downstream components, leading polysilicon prices to retreat from highs. On overseas market, polysilicon continued to extend the drop over the week. With a clear downstream weakness, the overseas polysilicon buyers took conservative approach in terms of the procurement. In fact, with collapse on polysilicon prices in China, some traders have been dumping inventories in the spot market to selloff the stock. With increasing pressure from downstream slide, a slump of polysilicon prices in overseas were also witnessed this week.


A glut of solar in downstream cell and modules have fueled price competition over the globe, and while imbalance across value chain have expand to pre-crisis level such competition continued to weigh on the prices of multi-crystalline wafers, especially as the wafer procurement volume significantly diminished over past few weeks. Downstream solar cell makers' efforts to reduce losses continued to squeeze multi wafer prices, signaling tighter margins and tougher operating conditions for multi-crystalline wafer firms evidenced by slowing productivity for 2nd and 3rd tier multi-crystalline wafer makers. However, as the top multi-crystalline wafer makers, who have in-house polysilicon supply, still operated in high utilization rates given competitive cost of polysilicon, the production cut efforts made by other 2nd and 3rd tier peers was eroded as the oversupply situation persisted. Mono-crystalline wafer also dropped extensively this week after the move by top mono-crystalline wafer makers. Following the lead of top mono-crystalline wafer makers, the 2nd and 3rd tier mono-crystalline wafer makers had to offer even lower price quotes to attract incoming orders and selloff excess stocks. In sum, due to notable demand drop in the downstream sectors, the drop of both multi- and mono-crystalline wafers prices widened this week amid glut.

Both multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline cell extended the price drop this week amid concerns about inventory pressures and a plunge in confidence from recent demand turmoil. Since major solar cell buyers have slashed outsourced solar cell procurement amid stricter control on inventory levels, the demand for solar cells have almost frozen in February. Although the current price level of multi-crystalline cells has forced many solar cell makers to lower production rates notably given the prices was now below the cash cost, the overall market was still hard to rebalance since some top tier Chinese cell makers with better cost structure still intent to operate at high utilization rates. Therefore, the persistent oversupply nature continued to escalate the price competition, driving multi-crystalline cell prices to hit all-time lows. Mono-crystalline cell prices also plunged this week in accordance with the slump of multi-crystalline counterpart and upstream mono-crystalline wafer costs. Subdued demand meant that the major cell buyer's massive procurement tightening is unlikely to be end in a hurry, despite the efforts by some solar cell suppliers to lower productions.

Overall module prices fell this week as the focuses shift back to fundamental amid diminishing effects on exchange rates. Solar panel prices were on track of a downtrend given that global demand strength in 1Q18 was worse than their previous estimation. Worsening oversupply situation in China and emerging countries without tariff imposed stirred the module price rout in these regions. In India, since India government may impose potential safeguard tariffs, more buyers strengthened wait-and-see stance await the uncertainty clears, reflecting a relatively stable prices. Module prices in EU and Japan were trading flat amid steady exchange rate this week and stable demand. While President Trump has announced the tariff rates to be applied on global solar imports as a result of the Section 201 trade case, module prices in the US retreated as the tariff rate was lower than previously forecast. Furthermore, following the correction of upstream materials and demand slowdown, module makers could lower prices at larger scope in the face of intensifying competition amid global glut.

Featured Product

AllEarth Renewables - The Solar Tracker

AllEarth Renewables - The Solar Tracker

Designed and manufactured in the U.S., the AllEarth Solar Tracker is a complete grid-tied, dual-axis solar electric system that produces up to 45% more electricity than fixed systems. The tracker uses GPS and wireless technology to follow the sun throughout the day for optimal energy production. It has an industry-leading 10 year warranty and 120 mph wind rating, superior snow shedding, and automatic high wind protection. Its simple, durable design and complete system pallet simplifies costly procurement and installation time. Contact us about becoming a dealer partner or purchasing an AllEarth Solar Tracker.